Benzo(a)pyrene exposure induces CYP1A1 activity and expression in human endometrial cells

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 May;81(1):37-45. doi: 10.1016/s0960-0760(02)00045-6.


Estrogen is a major risk factor for endometrial cancer and it has been well-established that smokers have a significantly reduced risk of endometrial cancer. Localized levels of estrogen within the uterus may determine the estrogenic response. The objective of this research was to investigate effects of cigarette smoke related hydrocarbons (benzo(a)pyrene, BP) on uterine CYP1A1/2 and 1B1, enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism. Human endometrium epithelial cells (RL95-2) were incubated with various concentrations (0.05, 0.1, 0.5, 1, and 10mM) of BP for 48h. CYP1 catalytic activity, protein and mRNA levels were determined. Selective chemical and immuno-inhibitors were used to determine the contribution of individual CYP1 isoenzymes. Cells expressing CYP1A1, CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 were used for comparisons. CYP1A1/2 protein and mRNA levels were significantly elevated by BP. Low level of constitutive CYP1 activity was observed in RL95-2 cells, which was significantly induced by BP exposure (12-fold at 1mM). CYP1 activity in BP-induced cells was significantly inhibited by specific anti-CYP1A1 and high concentration of alpha-naphthoflavone (ANF, 100nM), but not by selective CYP1A2 (furafylline) and CYP1B1 (homoeriodictoyl) inhibitors and low concentration of ANF (5nM). These studies suggest that CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 are not induced by BP in the endometrial cells. It also appears that CYP1A1 is one of the major CYP450 enzymes induced by BP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / biosynthesis*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / genetics
  • DNA Primers
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endometrium / cytology
  • Endometrium / drug effects*
  • Endometrium / enzymology
  • Endometrium / metabolism
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA Primers
  • Estrogens
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1